Crude awakening: Oil pipelines in development across the globe


Published by the Global Energy Monitor (GEM) – a California-based research organisation – on September 27, 2022, this brief examines the trends in the development of oil pipelines and the growth of oil industries across the world. It was written by Baird Langenbrunner and Julie Joly, researchers working with GEM.

Due to the profits generated in the year 2021-22, oil industries have increased investments for setting up larger networks of oil pipelines, the brief notes. It adds that over 24,000 kilometres of pipelines for the transport of crude oil are under development across the world. The expansion of the oil industry is a direct threat to the efforts taken to limit global warming between 1.5°C and 2°C.

The 13-page brief is divided into six sections: Executive Summary (Section 1); A global oil boom in making (Section 2); The pipeline expansion in numbers (Section 3); Regions and countries leading the buildout (Section 4); Companies leading the oil pipeline buildout (Section 5); and Conclusion (Section 6).


  1. As per data from Global Energy Monitor, 24,166 kilometres of oil pipelines are currently under development across the world. Out of these, 10,351 kilometres are already under construction while around 13,813 km are in a ‘pre-construction’ phase.

  2. United States of America has the highest number of oil pipelines under construction (2,829 kilometres) followed by India (2,824 kilometres), and China (2,533 kilometres). The pipelines in India are estimated to coast around four billion US dollars.

  3. The projects under construction across the world are estimated to add transmission capacity for around 8.3 million barrels of crude oil every day. Projects under the pre-construction phase would add another 21.8 million barrels per day. In total, these additions are calculated to annually create about 4.61 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

  4. Among all regions, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of oil pipelines under development. This figure includes proposed pipelines (4,540 kilometres) and those under construction (1,950 kilometres).

  5. As European countries have enforced sanctions against the import of Russian oil because of its ongoing war with Ukraine, India has been buying discounted crude from Russia, to refine it and increase its petroleum product exports.

  6. The brief states that two major pipelines are under development in India. One of these is the Paradip Numaligarh Crude Pipeline which forms a part of the expansion for the Numaligarh refinery in Assam. The second is the New Mundra-Panipat Oil Pipeline stretching from Gujarat to Haryana. Both are expected to begin functioning in 2024.

  7. Among the various companies building such pipelines, the China National Petroleum Corporation has the highest kilometres of pipeline in development –1,950 kilometres. The Iraq Ministry of Oil is a close second with 1,667 kilometres in development. The two Indian companies, namely, Numaligarh Refinery Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited are respectively third and fifth on the list.

  8. The brief cites the International Energy Agency’s 2021 report titled Net Zero by 2050 to state that meeting the energy needs outlined in the Paris Agreement does not require any new oil fields or any pipeline infrastructure to increase the capacity of oil transmission.

    Focus and Factoids by Dhyanvi Katharani.


Baird Langenbrunner and Julie Joly


Global Energy Monitor, California


27 Sep, 2022